Summer is Here

Last night Pennsylvania Park was home to a human chess board, a dunk tank, musicians, actors, dancers, food and more. All of which were part of the City of Petoskey’s Summer Open House. Around 4pm a section of Lake Street was closed off, and the set up in the park and street began.
Around 5pm a repetitive pinging sound could be heard around town and I smiled, then for the first time in a while the whistle of a train horn sounded. The train-tracks that run through the center of town are normally empty, as I kid (and even now) I wish trains passed by more. So last night when the Great Lakes Central Railroad Motorcar Excursion rolled into to town, it was a real treat. Granted the train was small and didn’t even fill a block on the small town, but it was still a spectacular to see and hear.
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At 6:30pm the Petoskey Steel Drum Band started to play by the train, in Pennsylvania Park. People were drawn from all over town by the hypnotic beat (including me). I wandered out of work (with permission) and walked the half block to the park. Pennsylvania Park quickly became a sea of people, some sat in the grass, others stood. While the band played, a dozen or so children got up and danced, seeing them smile and enjoy the beat was a heartwarming sight. As the band’s set continued a few people wandered around the park; looking at the train, watching the magician perform in the street, standing in line for treats from the Grain Train (the local natural food store) or inspecting the dunk tank and human sized chess board.
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Though I love music, and always enjoy our Steel Drum Band, my tummy was telling me a snack was necessary. So I wandered across the park and turned up Mitchell (the main street in town). I walked for about half a block then ducked into a pink store (Sweet Maria’s) that I expected to be packed (like it was at 2pm),but to my surprise the store was relatively empty. I smiled and greeted the man standing behind a case of dwindling cupcakes. He smiled and we chatted for a bit, all the while I eyed the two mini cupcakes that were sitting at either end of a large tray. As the conversation drew to a close I asked if I could take both, he smiled and said yes (it’s always nice to know people). I thanked him and made my way back to work, a mini cupcake in each hand.
As I walked back to work I smiled and nodded to one of the street musicians, as he played a song on his guitar and sang. As I got closer to work I saw a mass of people congregating outside our galley (Art Cats) and the one next to it. I wondered if they were all in line to get their face painted by one of the artists set up next door? When I was a few feet away I realized most of the people were just talking to each other, and enjoy the beautiful weather we were having. I slipped through the crowd into our less crowded gallery and let my co-worker pick which cupcake she wanted. Then I restocked some food on our treats table, and with a smile and nod headed back out, to enjoy my last few minutes of freedom for the night.
I hit up the park again, sat down and listened to the band for a few a while. I watched family talk with each other and kids dance. The sun felt good on my back, and the music was enthralling, I was glad summer was finally her. And I could tell that everyone else in town felt the same way. Eventually I pulled my phone out of my pocket to check the time, I needed to get back to work. As I wove my out of the sea of people I spotted someone else I knew standing across the street. I went over and said hello. After a little catching up, but mostly talking about when my parents return, I said goodbye and went back to work.
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When I arrived the gallery was bustling with people, and the treats table was in dire need of more chocolate. So I set to work, getting out more chocolate covered pretzels and assisting customers. The rest of the night was fairly busy for the gallery. I talked with a lot of customers, poured some wine, and restocked the chocolate many, many times. Around 8:30 the crowed in town started to thin out, and I was released of my duties for the night.
I hung around town for a while, talking with people and wandering. Eventually I bid everyone goodnight and headed home. On my walk back to the car I sighed with relief, one long busy day was done. I knew there would be more to come, but I didn’t mind; summer is FINALLY here, and summers in northern Michigan are (in my mind) the best.

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